Staging Indonesia – the Artistic Practice and Social Vision of Teater Garasi

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Date(s) - 29/09/2015
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

Caulfield, Building H, Lecture Theatre H2.38


Staging Indonesia – the Artistic Practice and Social Vision of Teater Garasi

 Yudi Tajudin, director of Teater Garasi

“We recreate everyday life into a performance that is composed of multiple narrations, simultaneous movements, overlapping sequences and striking, sometimes bizarre and comical images, to express the complexities of life in today’s Indonesia.”

Here Yudi Tajudin, director of Teater Garasi, a multi-disciplinary collective of artists widely regarded as Indonesia’s foremost contemporary theatre company, describes the group’s artistic practice and social/ cultural “mission”. Graphically illustrated in Garasi’s production (The Streets), to be staged as a major event of the Oz Asia Festival in Adelaide later this month, this approach infuses a series of works through which the group has given theatrical expression over the past decade to their vision of today’s Indonesia. Like contemporary performance more generally, Garasi’s shows reflect key features of Indonesian life after the ending of the authoritarian Suharto regime − new freedom of expression of diverse identities; emphasis on local cultures in a context of devolution of centralized political and economic power to the regions; a blending of the local with global influences. In addition Garasi seeks meaning amidst this dynamic, often chaotic diversity, depicts the conflict as well as the celebration, attempts to convey something about Indonesia’s experience as a nation.

On a brief stop in Melbourne on his way home from Adelaide, in this seminar Yudi will discuss and show examples of Garasi’s multi-faceted works, combining music, dance and visual effects with spoken dialogue, fusing ancient legends, contemporary poetry, rock music, historical events and scenes of street life. He will also explain why he and his fellow performers feel the need to engage with the “big issues” facing Indonesia as a nation, and what understandings they have reached..

Yudi Ahmad Tajudin is generally acknowledged as Indonesia’s most cutting edge theatre director. Named Director of the Year by Tempo magazine in 2006, in 2011-2012 Yudi received an Asian Cultural Council fellowship grant to research the theatre scene in New York, and in 2014 received an Art Award from Indonesian government. He has collaborated with Japanese theatre companies Rin Ko Gun and KuNauka and choreographer Akiko Kitamura, as well as many contemporary Indonesian artists and composers. Under Yudi’s direction, Garasi is currently working collaboratively with the German-based group Rimini Protokol in a production entitled 100% Yogyakarta, to be staged in Yogyakarta at the end of October.

In 2013 Garasi won a prestigious Prince Claus Award from the Netherlands government. The award committee praised Garasi for their “adventurous spirit and groundbreaking work in stimulating performance arts in South East Asia; for their vibrant and diverse body of innovative productions offering immersive experience and challenging ideas; for breaking the barriers of theatre as high art, fusing the modern and the traditional, and engaging a wide public in the power of performance.”